There is no longer any doubt that that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables plays a role in a healthy diet. It's worth remembering, especially in June, which is National Fruit and Vegetable Month.

Eating more fruits, vegetables and grains helps reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And the scientific evidence linking these foods to a host of health benefits is now overwhelming. AICR recommends filling at least two-thirds of your plate with a variety of plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, and leaving the remaining one-third of the plate - or less - for animal protein.

This advice coincides with the new USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, which emphasize the need to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain a rich array of phytochemicals - substances found only in plant foods - that help protect against serious chronic health problems in addition to cancer, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

This recipe for a grilled vegetable salad will fill your plate with colorful, tasty, healthful vegetables.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

Yield: Makes 4 servings.

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Ingredients

  • 3 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large red onion cut into 3/4-inch rounds
  • 4 small beets, stems trimmed to 1 inch, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 3 small zucchini, each cut lengthwise into 4 slices
  • 1 large red, yellow or orange pepper, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • Canola oil spray
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 5 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, sodium-reduced chicken broth
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced red leaf lettuce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat grill or barbecue at medium-high heat.
  2. Place first 6 ingredients cut-side up on a baking sheet. Lightly spray with canola oil spray and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix 3 garlic cloves with 1/4 cup vinegar. Drizzle over vegetables. Grill vegetables until tender, turning once. As each vegetable becomes tender, transfer to a bowl. Let cool. Save all vegetable juices.
  4. Mix remaining 2 garlic cloves and 5 Tbsp. vinegar with broth, basil, thyme and oil. Chop vegetables very coarsely and place in large bowl. Pour saved vegetable juices into mixture. Add lettuce and Parmesan to vegetables and pour vinegar mixture over. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

Per Serving:
173 calories,
5 g. total fat,
1 g. saturated fat,
27 g. carbohydrate,
7 g. protein,
6 g. dietary fiber,
207 mg. sodium

Diabetic Exchanges: 3 Vegetable, 1 Fat, 1/2 Medium-Fat Milk


AICR